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Trump To Visit Dayton and El Paso; O'Rourke, Booker Respond

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Morning updates on President Donald Trump’s visit to Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas (all times local):

11:35 a.m.

President Donald Trump and the first lady are heading to the hospital in Dayton, Ohio, where many of the victims of Sunday’s attack were treated.

The White House says Trump will be visiting Miami Valley Hospital to thank first responders and hospital staff, as well as meet with victims and their families.

At least 200 protesters have gathered outside the hospital hoping to send a message to the president that, according to them, he is not welcome in the city.

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Connor Betts opened fire in Dayton’s Oregon district early Sunday morning, killing nine people, including his 22-year-old sister, before officers fatally shot him within 30 seconds of the start of his rampage.

Later Wednesday, Trump will travel to El Paso, Texas — the site of the second mass shooting last weekend.

11:25 a.m.

President Donald Trump’s arrival Wednesday in an Ohio city grieving after a mass shooting was met with protests. He is expected to visit with victims and first responders.

Several hundred demonstrators lined the streets in Dayton and chanted “Do Something!” which has become the city’s anti-gun rallying cry since nine people were killed in a shooting early Sunday morning.

Dorothee Bouquet stood with her two children, ages five and two. She said she told the kids they were going to a protest “to tell grown-ups to make better rules.”

Later Wednesday, Trump will travel to El Paso, Texas, the site of the other weekend mass shooting.

10:20 a.m.

Democratic presidential candidate Cory Booker says racism and white supremacy are “issues of national security.”

The New Jersey senator didn’t mention President Donald Trump by name in South Carolina on Wednesday but used some of the president’s own words to call out the racism Booker says underlies much of the violence in the country, including recent attacks that killed 31 in El Paso and Dayton.

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Booker said white supremacy “allows political leaders to promise to ‘build the wall’ — while not building hospitals, schools, or infrastructure.”

Booker made his address in the sanctuary of Mother Emanuel AME, a historic South Carolina church where nine Bible study participants were slain in a 2015 shooting that was racially motivated.

10 a.m.

President Donald Trump is defending his controversial rhetoric in the wake of two mass shootings.

While leaving the White House on Wednesday to visit Ohio and Texas, Trump defended himself against claims his rhetoric has contributed to violence.

The Republican president says, “No, I don’t think my rhetoric has at all.” He argued his rhetoric “brings people together.”

Democrats vying to challenge Trump in the 2020 election have been nearly unanimous in excoriating Trump for rhetoric they say nurtured the racist attitudes of the El Paso shooter.

Trump says he is “concerned about the rise of any group of hate,” whether it’s white supremacy, “any other kind of supremacy” or anti-fascist groups.

9:40 a.m.

President Donald Trump says there is a “very strong” political appetite in Congress for bipartisan legislation that would address background checks or other gun control.

The House passed legislation in February that would require federal background checks for all firearms sales and transfers, including those sold online or at gun shows. Another bill allows an expanded 10-day review for gun purchases.

The bills have not been passed in the Republican-controlled Senate.

Another bipartisan proposal is gaining momentum to create a federal grant program to encourage states to adopt “red flag” laws to take guns away from people believed to be a danger to themselves or others.

Trump told reporters as he left the White House Wednesday to visit Ohio and Texas, the scene of weekend mass shootings, that he has had “plenty of talks” with lawmakers.

“There’s a great appetite, and I mean a very strong appetite, for background checks. And I think we can bring up background checks like we’ve never had before,” he said.

Earlier this week, Trump claimed he favored “strong background checks.”

8:10 a.m.

Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke is attending an El Paso, Texas community rally timed to serve as counterprogramming to President Donald Trump’s visit.

An El Paso native, O’Rourke will address the #ElPasoStrong event at a park Wednesday afternoon, during Trump’s visit. O’Rourke is also attending a morning remembrance at a high school and making an evening visit to a makeshift memorial outside the Walmart where a gunman killed 22 people.

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In February, during a packed Trump rally in El Paso supporting a U.S.-Mexico border wall, O’Rourke drew a sizable crowd with his own counter speech across the street.

Trump tweeted that he had “trounced” O’Rourke at those dueling February events, adding that O’Rourke should respect victims and law enforcement and “be quiet.”

“El Paso will not be quiet and neither will I,” O’Rourke tweeted.

12:05 a.m.

President Donald Trump’s plan to carry a message of national unity and healing to the sites of the most recent mass shootings in America has received pushback from some local residents as and Democratic presidential primary candidates.

Trump is expected to visit Dayton, Ohio, on Wednesday morning and El Paso, Texas, in the afternoon to praise first responders and console family members and survivors. A White House spokesman, Hogan Gidley, says Trump also wants to have a conversation about ways to head off such violence in the future.

The Western Journal has reviewed this Associated Press story and may have altered it prior to publication to ensure that it meets our editorial standards.

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